Niv Elis covers the latest in the Trump fiscal fiasco:
President Trump on Friday signed two spending packages totaling $1.4 trillion, averting a government shutdown at midnight. The bills included all 12 annual appropriations bills for the 2020 fiscal year that started Oct. 1. They also included a slew of tax cuts, extending expiring and expired tax breaks and eliminating other taxes that amount to an additional $426 billion in lost revenue, bringing the total cost of the bill to more than $1.8 trillion.
Reagan used to complain about “tax&tax and spend&spend” so he replaced it with spend&spend and borrow&borrow. Trump is doing the same but there’s more:
Trump’s signature brings to a close a fraught year for spending. At the same time last year, his refusal to sign a stopgap measure over funding his proposed border wall led to a 35-day shutdown, the longest in the nation’s history. The Democratic majority in the House, which was seated in the midst of the shutdown, left Trump with little to show for the shutdown by way of wall funding. After finally striking a deal to reopen the government in February, Trump proceeded to declare a state of emergency along the Southern border to allow him to reprogram other funds. Not long after, Trump released his annual budget proposal that would have hyper-charged military spending while dramatically cutting domestic spending, slashing more than 20 percent of funds from the EPA, State Department, and Transportation Department, and abolishing funding for popular programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Special Olympics. Congress summarily dismissed the request and ultimately agreed to a deal that would increase spending on both defense and non-defense significantly for both 2020 and 2021. Congressional leaders would need two stopgap measures spanning nearly three months to work out spending allocations, find compromises on controversial issues such as the wall and agree on additional legislation to include in the package.
Old enough to die, but not old enough to smoke.
Screw you Congress and the Executive.
Or drink thanks to MADD, but on the more important point, what kind of world do we live in when we have trillion dollar deficits with full employment? How can we spend that kind of money on the military and still not treat veterans right? Why are we spending even a nickel on barriers along the southern border when a majority of Americans and Congress ( at least last year) do not want to waste those funds? I mean really does this make any sense? This seems a lot like denying the planet is warming and ignoring shortfalls in funding for Medicare and Social Security. I know Keynes said “In the long run we are all dead” but come on man.
It might be not that long. The empire and war goes together. And now this means the nuclear war, which will be decided on much lower level that we suspect. Ukraine is a real flashpoint as Russia is incensed with the USA stage coup detat (aka the “Revolution od Dignity”, aka Nulandgate ) and feel greatly endangered by it. As Daniel Ellsberg put it in his talk at Google (
…But in terms of American traditions, we thought of ourselves as– we didn’t think– of having run the first war of national liberation. But it could have been called that, the first war of separation for an empire. And we thought of ourselves as anti-imperial. And we still think of ourselves that way, as not an empire like the others. That’s false.
That’s very clear from the Pentagon Papers where we’re deciding who should run Vietnam this year or next year or how they should stay in power, what criminal acts they’re entitled to take, how much we need to support them. And so it’s very obviously the documents of an empire. In fact, that’s what I said to my wife, when she said, at one point, before they came out, does it really matter to get this history out? And I said, well, among other things, it’s the first real history of imperial operations since the Nuremberg documents were discovered, covered after the Second World War. And before that, it probably goes back to Punic times, to the Syrian empire, to Sumerian empire, and so probably all the same, but we don’t have the documents for it.
And here they are. And yet, even so, I managed to think of it as an aberration. We had somehow gotten ourselves into acting like an empire. Let me say just very briefly now– I could spend the whole time on this. But I’ll just say, I’ve come recently to see what we are as a covert empire. And covert refers to plausibly denial covert operations.
Covert operations, I should say, are defined as operations that are not just secret, that you’re not just keeping it safe, but that you lie about plausibly. And to make it plausible, you provide in advance evidence, false evidence, misleading evidence as to what’s really going on and who’s running it and why it’s happening and who did it and so forth, a false flag in some cases, whatever.
But you provide several layers of cover for what’s being done to protect the president from the notion that he is murdering, overthrowing governments, installing coup governments in democracies and so forth, as so often in the third world then and now, up until now. Well, you don’t want the US to be associated with that. It’s happening over there.
And if somehow a US hand surfaces, he or she wasn’t working for any agency. And if you find the agency, it wasn’t the CIA. And if it was the CIA, it wasn’t the president. So you have layer after layer of cover stories with documents. I didn’t know this. It didn’t come to my attention. This so-and-so did it and so forth. The Vietnam War was run from beginning to end like that. That’s how we run our empire.
We deny that we are an empire. And what is an empire? A country that determines the regime of other countries, decides who the police chief was, who shall live and who shall die, what the basic foreign policies are. We do that throughout Central America and always have, often many other parts of the world as far apart as Indonesia, now the Middle East. In general, we decide: Who do we want? Is this guy OK? We don’t decide every detail but any more than you decide every detail of a military commander’s operations.
But generally, they work. If they don’t do what we want, we replace them with somebody else. We deny that we’re an empire. We’re against empire. When other people do the same sort of thing, they’re empires. They’re acting imperially. First level of denial on the American part. And then second, how do they get in power? Who has to be killed? What paramilitary forces have to be paid and go in, as into Nicaragua, for example, and other places? So the efforts are also plausibly denied OK, I could spend time. And I don’t know if people have it in mind.
See also his book
https://www.amazon.com/Doomsday-Machine-Confessions-Nuclear-Planner/product-reviews/1608196704 . From one of Amazon reviews: